Let there be light

Winter holidays to warmer climates appeal. They shorten the winter at home, a winter that in the worst years can stretch from November to April, though those are the exceptions. Nor, because of the Gulf Stream, do we normally get as much snow as our neighbours in Scandinavia or Canada. Though we can enjoy cold, crisp days of blue skies and glittering frosts, we can also have depressing periods of grey skies and rain, as if we were immobile under a gushing waterfall. So the draw of warm sunlight with additional hours of daylight in which to enjoy it is hard to resist.

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Never say never

In Madeira, as in Scotland, you are never far from the sea, though there the similarity fragments like the spray of a wave. Madeira can boast a fairly benign climate year round, although it does have its off days. But sitting in December, without feeling cold, on the balcony of your hotel room around midnight, wearing only

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